Golden Heritage life member Jesse Turner, Jr. is Treasurer of our NAACP National Board of Directors, a role he has held since 2007. He has also served on the Board as a member since 1995.
In the past, Turner served our NAACP as President, Memphis NAACP Youth Council; Founder & President, University of Chicago NAACP college chapter; Treasurer, Memphis NAACP branch; and Assistant Treasurer, NAACP National Board of Directors. At 17 and 19, his local NAACP youth council, with support from the Branch, challenged the treatment of Blacks in the newspaper, pushed for integration of school "knowledge bowl" contests, achieved inclusion of Black girls on a local TV dancing show, and monitored harassment of Black youth at bowling allies.
Turner has participated in our NAACP National Youth Mobilization to lower the voting age to 18 and voter registration drives. He has promoted use of previously-excluded African American businesses on boards on which he served; worked in GOTV efforts to help elect previously-excluded Blacks and others of goodwill to public office.
He has been recognized for courage in being the first Black to desegregate the all-white Christian Brothers High School in 1967, the first desegregated high school in Memphis and Shelby County. Jesse Turner Jr. received a B.S. in mathematics and M.B.A. in accounting and finance from the University of Chicago.
The Turner family has a long history with NAACP. His father Jesse Turner, Sr.'s deep commitment was evidenced by constant aggressive action to further our NAACP civil rights initiatives, and by his service as longtime Treasurer of our National Board of Directors. He was also Tennessee's first Black CPA, the first Black Chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, and former president of Tri-State Bank. Jesse Turner Jr's mother, a membership worker and fundraiser, worked with his father in Branch activities including support work in the desegregation of Memphis State University. She also helped lead desegregation efforts in local Catholic schools.
Love your neighbor as yourself!
A life of service to his community, Jesse Turner Jr. has also served as a Finance Council Member for St. Augustine Church; Finance Committee Chair for LeMoyne-Owen College; Chair of the National Bankers Association; Chairman of the Black Business Association; Finance Committee Chair for the Memphis & Shelby County Convention Center Board; and Board Member of the Depot Redevelopment Corporation of Memphis and Shelby County.
Turner served Tri-State Bank of Memphis as chairman, CEO, and president for 29 years. At Tri-State, he increased assets from $58 Million to $126 Million. He led a group of six minority banks nationwide to lend $4.5 million to the CME Church to save historically-Black Texas College. He has advocated for the continued use of African American businesses in bank operations.
He is the recipient of many awards: Distinguished Service Award, Memphis Branch NAACP, 1993; Hall of Fame, Christian Brothers High School (CBHS), 1995; Simply the Best CEO Award, 1996; Honorary Doctorate, LeMoyne-Owen College, 2004; B. Doyle Mitchell Award, National Bankers Association, 2006; African American Legacy Award, North Memphis District, AME Church, 2009; Freedom Award for Community Service, University of Memphis Chapter NAACP, 2012; Service to Humanity Award, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, 2014; Trailblazer of Memphis Award; Christian Brothers University NAACP Chapter and Black Student Association, 2016; and the Be the Dream Legacy Award, City of Memphis, 2017.
Since retiring, Jesse Turner Jr. has owned and operated Jesse H. Turner, Jr., Certified Public Accountant, serving small businesses, non-profits, and professionals. He resides in Memphis with his wife, Joyce Hays Turner, a former teacher. The Turners have four children: Jesse III, Michael, Christy, and Brian.